The most recommended books about destiny

Who picked these books? Meet our 50 experts.

50 authors created a book list connected to destiny, and here are their favorite destiny books.
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Book cover of Cloud Atlas

Daryl Qilin Yam Author Of Lovelier, Lonelier

From my list on thick novels about star-crossed, ill-fated lovers.

Who am I?

I’m one of those writers who’d identify themselves as readers first, and as an oft-bullied queer kid growing up in Singapore, I often found refuge and salvation in writers whose works were able to refashion and reimagine our lives, however intimately or grandly. I grew up devouring fantasy of all kinds; I went from Enid Blyton to Charmed, for instance, before discovering in my later adolescence the manifold possibilities of magical realism and the other expanses contained within the realm(s) of speculative fiction. Many of the books in this particular list were especially useful in crafting my second novel, Lovelier, Lonelier

Daryl's book list on thick novels about star-crossed, ill-fated lovers

Daryl Qilin Yam Why did Daryl love this book?

In my head, there’s a high I’m chasing, and it’s the high I got when I finally finished David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, the high of one synapse in my head connecting with one another in a bright feverish spark as I volley from one page to the next, one character to the next, one era to the next.

If I had to summarise what the book even is, I’d say it’s reincarnation and samsara in the hands of Mitchell’s trademark ventriloquism, arranged into this wonderfully nested set of Russian doll narratives. It sounds very smart and full of grand ideas about the nature of human suffering, and it is! But it is also deeply romantic and about the peculiar destiny that can tie one human soul to another all throughout eternity.

By David Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Cloud Atlas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Six lives. One amazing adventure. The audio publication of one of the most highly acclaimed novels of 2004. 'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified 'dinery server' on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation - the narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great…


Book cover of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

Kate Chenli Author Of A Bright Heart

From my list on fantasy novels by Asian authors for young adults.

Who am I?

I write adult and young adult fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of magic. While growing up in China, I often found myself immersed in fantasy literature based on Asian history, mythology, and legends. I enjoyed getting lost in the rich imaginary worlds where the characters came to life. These tales fed my imagination and inspired me to create my own magical adventures. Writing has allowed me to expand on the ancient legends and mythology that I’ve always loved. Moreover, I’ve enjoyed creating lifelike characters, especially strong women who inspire young girls.

Kate's book list on fantasy novels by Asian authors for young adults

Kate Chenli Why did Kate love this book?

Inspired by a Korean myth and Ghibli’s Spirited Away, a girl throws herself into the ocean as a sacrifice to the Sea God to save her brother’s beloved. As a human in the Spirit Realm, she’s determined to save her people before it’s too late.

I enjoyed the concept about people being pushed out of comfortable homes to make new lives in a totally different, strange world.

Every character has depth, with a compelling motive that justifies their action. The prose is elegant, capturing the dreamy side of Asian fairy tales. And the sheer beauty of it all–the wondrous mythology, vibrant spirit world, and lively atmosphere–is breathtaking.

By Axie Oh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deadly storms. An ancient curse. Will her sacrifice save them all?

For generations, deadly storms have ravaged Mina's homeland. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curse them with death and despair. To appease him, each year a maiden is thrown into the sea, in the hopes that one day the 'true bride' will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe Shim Cheong - Mina's brother's beloved - to be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is sacrificed, Mina's brother follows her, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save…


Book cover of The Eternal Ones

Nichole Giles Author Of Water So Deep

From my list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago.

Who am I?

I’m an author of Young Adult Fantasy fiction. When my oldest was six, I started reading Harry Potter to him. It was such a bonding experience that we both cherish. We still talk about the stories, even though he's all grown up and lives away from me most of the time. The thing about fantasy is that stories set in worlds or with people that don’t actually exist make it easier for us to swallow deep meanings, storylines with which we can identify, and that crawl deep down into our souls and nest there. It’s not just about escaping into a fantasy world, but about finding human experience in otherworldly situations and characters. 

Nichole's book list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago

Nichole Giles Why did Nichole love this book?

Have you ever met someone for the first time, and felt like you’d known them forever? I have. On multiple occasions. Not just love interests, but friends, mentors, and others who have come and gone from my life at times when they were most needed. This particular story struck me hard as something I can identify with in this way, as it explores that phenomenon, and takes it one step farther toward the possibility of reincarnation, and the idea that we all have a single soulmate who we are meant to meet in every lifetime. I loved this idea, and it was well done enough to—again—still stick in my memory years later. 

By Kirsten Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Eternal Ones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Haven Moore can't control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother's house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept…


Book cover of Undeniable

Victoria Jayne Author Of Jacob

From my list on motorcycle club romance.

Who am I?

Maybe it was because I fell in love with Sons of Anarchy and needed more when the series ended. Maybe it was because I’ve always loved alpha holes. Either way, motorcycle club romances just fit in my reader wheelhouse. There's something about the ultimate bad boys who will burn the world down for that one woman. I think what appeals to me most is that these couples, their relationships, are never perfect. The men don’t magically become the perfect boyfriends. They still screw up, but they love in their own gritty, possessive, dirty way with their whole hearts. When I devoured every audiobook I could find, I decided to try my hand at writing one. 

Victoria's book list on motorcycle club romance

Victoria Jayne Why did Victoria love this book?

Undeniable is the raw and dirty story of Eva and Deuce. As the children of leaders of outlaw motorcycle clubs, they have expectations placed on them. These pressures both drive them apart and together at the same time. It’s not a pretty tale. It’s complicated. Everything is in their way, but they persevere. They go through hell to be together. It’s not the typical love story, but it’s theirs.

By Madeline Sheehan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Undeniable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Warning: This is not a typical, sappy, love story. This is an all-consuming, soul-crushing, tear-your-heart-into-pieces story. It’s intense, gritty and raw, dark and disturbing, and it doesn’t happen overnight. This is an epic love story that knows no boundaries and has no time limits. It grows and develops—with hurt, sacrifice, and heartache—over the span of a lifetime.

Eva Fox is the princess of the Silver Demons Motorcycle Club. Growing up with bikers in the club lifestyle is all that she knows. When she’s a young girl, Eva meets the reason for her existence. Deuce West is the sexy, biker bad-ass…


Book cover of The Little White Horse

Natasha Lowe Author Of The Courage of Cat Campbell (Poppy Pendle)

From my list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls.

Who am I?

I write books about feisty girls who follow their dreams and don’t let fear stand in their way. Growing up in London I was an extremely shy child with a full-blown fantasy life, but at eighteen decided it was time to channel my inner “feisty girl”, take charge of my destiny, and travel to America to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Now, many years later I am the proud author of five middle-grade novels, and the mother of four amazing children who are all off following their own dreams. When I’m not writing books about feisty girls, I’m reading other people's. Here are some of my favorites.

Natasha's book list on quirky fantasies with feisty “take charge” girls

Natasha Lowe Why did Natasha love this book?

Okay, this is an old-fashioned book with some old-fashioned views, but it was my childhood favorite, so I had to include it! Orphaned Maria is sent to live with a distant relative at Moonacre Manor, but all is not as perfect as it seems, and it isn’t long before Maria discovers a world of hidden secrets and ancient feuds. It can’t have been easy growing up a feisty girl in Victorian England, but Maria Merryweather manages it, and I love that about her. She is stubborn, brave, and inquisitive, refusing to let anything dampen her spirit. As well as a passion for life Maria also has a passion for good food, (like me) so eat a snack while you read this because the descriptions will make you hungry!  A perfect balance of mystery, magic, and teatime treats.

By Elizabeth Goudge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little White Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

'The Little White Horse was my favourite childhood book. I absolutely adored it. It had a cracking plot. It was scary and romantic in parts and had a feisty heroine.' - JK Rowling - The Bookseller

Winner of the Carnegie Medal in 1946 and J.K. Rowling's favourite childhood book. This bestselling favourite fantasy classic is 'one of the most of the most magical stories in the world.' - The Independent. This is the story of a thirteen-year-old orphan, a Moon Princess, and a mysterious white horse.


Maria Merryweather, a plain London orphan, is sent to Moonacre Manor to live with…


Book cover of Cast in Firelight

Laura Rueckert Author Of A Dragonbird in the Fern

From my list on feminist young adult sci-fi and fantasy.

Who am I?

I grew up loving sci-fi and fantasy, but especially today, I recognize how a lot of older sci-fi is patriarchal or even misogynistic. When I started to write my own books, like A Dragonbird in the Fern, I vowed to create my fantastical settings as I’d like our world to be someday—with all genders considered equal. Whether it’s a queen wielding all of the power or a witch who can save the world, women and girls in my stories get things done, and no one bats an eye. 

Laura's book list on feminist young adult sci-fi and fantasy

Laura Rueckert Why did Laura love this book?

Cast in Firelight is such an awesome combination of romance, adventure, and feminism! It’s about two teens arranged to be married who always try to outdo each other. After years of not seeing each other, they meet up, but each thinks the other is someone else. They end up teaming up to save their countries and start to fall for each other. I adored the mix of rom-com and superhero fantasy action, and especially how powerful a girl can be when she puts her mind to it and trusts herself.

By Dana Swift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cast in Firelight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who's mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the…


Book cover of Dragon Sword and Wind Child

Alina Lee Author Of Paper Crane Memories

From my list on the history, folklore, and mythology of Japan.

Who am I?

Growing up, I was introduced to Japanese culture and history through anime. But I decided to dig a little deeper, reading history books and looking up more and more information. I was fascinated by what was presented of “Old Japan,” both the misconceptions that were spread by pop culture and by the surprising details that it gets right that no one would believe. This fascination is one of the most consistent things about me through the years, and the idea of delving into works of my own that merged samurai drama with lesbian relationships has been a recurring desire of mine for years.

Alina's book list on the history, folklore, and mythology of Japan

Alina Lee Why did Alina love this book?

While it feels a little slow to start, this novel is the kind of thing that takes typical fantasy tropes, puts them in a bucket, and dumps it upside down. The story is fantastical and doesn't shy away from that fact, but it is also deeply influenced by Japan's folklore, mythology, and spiritual traditions.

By Noriko Ogiwara, Cathy Hirano (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dragon Sword and Wind Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

The forces of the God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness have waged a ruthless war across the land of Toyoashihara for generations. But for 15-year-old Saya, the war is far away and unimportant--until the day she discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and a princess of the Children of the Dark. Raised to love the Light and detest the Dark, Saya must come to terms with her heritage even as she tumbles into the very heart of the conflict that is destroying her country. The armies of the Light and Dark both seek to…


Book cover of Helen of Sparta

Judith Starkston Author Of Hand of Fire

From my list on set in the Trojan War.

Who am I?

I write fiction set in the Bronze Age world of the Trojan War and the Hittite Empire. I love to combine history and archaeology with magic and fantasy arising from the ancient beliefs of this period. My novels bring women to the fore—whether the captive Briseis or a remarkable Hittite queen lost to human memory until recently. Armed with degrees in Classics, I have spent too much time exploring the remains of the ancient Greeks and Hittites through travel and research. From the beginning, the Trojan War tradition has left room for many variations. Here are five entirely different “takes” on this iconic war—all masterfully written.

Judith's book list on set in the Trojan War

Judith Starkston Why did Judith love this book?

Carosella offers another, refreshing take on Helen. This Helen takes control of her life and tries to defy fate (and the gods do their darndest, as usual in Greek mythology, to make her and everyone else miserable). Carosella’s engaging novel develops the characters’ jealousies, passions, and loyalties, as well as bringing the reader directly into the ancient Greek world. I enjoyed the sense of interconnectedness between different parts of this Greek and Mediterranean world, Troy, Sparta, Egypt, Mycenae, and Athens. This accurately reflects the current understanding of this exotic world. I appreciate a flexible view of all the legendary mythology surrounding this iconic war, and Carosella has flexed some impressive muscle.

By Amalia Carosella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Helen of Sparta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war-a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers-violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war-thwart Helen's plans and…


Book cover of Given

Elana A. Mugdan Author Of Dragon Speaker

From my list on for people who love dragons as central characters.

Who am I?

Dragons are my passion, I've lovingly been referred to as The World's Foremost Dragon Authority, and I've made it my mission to consume as much dragon media as I can. As someone who also loves science, I'm especially drawn to media that addresses draconic physiology, evolution, and culture. I can name every taxonomic family, genus, and species in the order Draconidae, and there's nothing I love more than sharing my dragon knowledge and stories with others!

Elana's book list on for people who love dragons as central characters

Elana A. Mugdan Why did Elana love this book?

Given is a fantasy romance, centering on the relationship between Yenni and Weysh. Yenni is a princess of the Yirba who ventures to a distant land to seek a magical cure for her ailing father; Weysh is a charming and troublesome dragon shapeshifter who believes Yenni is his Given, or destined mate.

In addition to offering a unique spin on dragons, Given has wonderful world building. We learn about the intertwined history of three cultures: the Yirba, the Creshens, and the once-mighty dragons. While the draconic aspect is what drew me to this book, I also loved learning about the magic system, and how each culture approaches magic use. The romance is sweet and understated, and is well balanced with Yenni and Weysh's personal goals.

By Nandi Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Given as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a princess of the Moonrise Isles and one of its fiercest warriors, Yenni has always put duty before her own desires. When her father falls gravely ill, she knows she must find the cure and sets out on an arduous journey that takes her to a magical academy in the far reaches of the Empire of Cresh.

There is no room for failure, but Yenni struggles to learn the strange magic of Cresh as a cure continues to evade her. And complicating matters is Weysh, a dragon shifter who says Yenni is his Given―his one true partner ordained by…


Book cover of Amber and Clay

Katherine Marsh Author Of The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine

From my list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers.

Who am I?

Not only have I written six critically acclaimed novels for middle-grade readers, including three historical fictions, I am the parent of a tween and teen who is always looking for great read-alouds and read-alongs for my own family. I am a firm believer that this is a valuable way to encourage literacy and love of story as I wrote in a recent, much-discussed essay in The Atlantic. Having lived abroad, including as an exchange student and camper in the Soviet Union and for three years in Belgium, I am also a huge believer in expanding our own as well as our kids’ knowledge of history beyond our own borders, cultures, identities, and perspectives. 

Katherine's book list on historical fiction to read with middle schoolers

Katherine Marsh Why did Katherine love this book?

Schlitz’s latest historical novel, set in Ancient Greece, is one I read aloud to my own kids, who like many are already well versed in Greek and Roman mythology.

The story of the rebellious daughter of a noble family and an enslaved boy, it’s a haunting and beautifully rendered introduction to classical philosophy and the story of Socrates. Reading this together gave us a chance to discuss the classical world as a real place and its culture and religion in detail and depth.

Schlitz’s books are among the most literary and original out there and this one was written to stay with you for a very long time. 

By Laura Amy Schlitz, Julia Iredale (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amber and Clay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

The Newbery Medal–winning author of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! givesreaders avirtuoso performance in verse in this profoundly original epic pitched just right for fans of poetry, history, mythology, and fantasy.

Welcome to ancient Greece as only genius storyteller Laura Amy Schlitz can conjure it. In a warlike land of wind and sunlight, “ringed by a restless sea,” live Rhaskos and Melisto, spiritual twins with little in common beyond the violent and mysterious forces that dictate their lives. A Thracian slave in a Greek household, Rhaskos is as common as clay, a stable boy worth less than a donkey, much less…